Friday, February 19, 2010

My response to, "Can IBM POWER 7 hit the C-spot?"

Original Post is here

James, I am not sure that the definition of processor chip defines what a cloud is or how a cloud works.

After all, the ultimate "business" goal of a cloud is a virtual infrastructure that is in the form of a service, an application, actual infrastructure to build upon, or storage as a new form of cloud offering.

The reality is that very few are offering a real cloud solution of any kind other than SaaS which is still very relevant but not as sexy to talk tech about these days. So instead we talk about cloud.

Which reminds me that when talking about cloud, it harkens back to my very early days and using multiplexed time as no one could really afford their own computer system?

Now my disclosures;
1) I am an IBM client
2) I am running the first Power 7 system in Canada
3) I am a client of Redmonk
4) I provide customer testimonials for IBM on Power, Linux, & Virtualization
5) I am a Novell Enterprise Linux (Suse) client and customer reference on Power

So there are LOT of items touched on in this article, my take on power as a processor.

The Power 7 processor brings new processing power and speed to the table for IBM Power customers.  Keeping in mind that HP, Sun/Oracle, and Dell - CAN NOT run 3 different operating system simultaneously in their virtualized environments. Even VMware only handles Windows and Linux workloads.  The number of unique operating systems speaks to number of solutions available for a business to choose from that leverages the hardware investment. In other words it's about software choice without infrastructure costs. IBM wins hands down.

Now for the Oracle part.  Larry has always been a flash in the pan kind of guy. Saying or doing something to get him front page news. Now he wants to rule the world and adopt IBM’s 1960’s view on being a total solution provider for his customers.  IBM learnt the hard way that customers want choice, not a good direction for Larry.  The reality to all this posturing is that Oracle enjoys very high end mission critical respect for its database and solutions, which by the way generates a lot of mtce revenue that Larry is desperate to protect. He believes that by owning the whole process he can guarantee his clients the most reliable experience that he controls.  History tell’s us that unless choice is available in hardware, operating systems, and support they are destined to fail.  Just look to players like WANG who dominated the early imaging market as one of many stories that tell this same tale. I wont even get on my soap box to talk about Larry’s Linux as that is a whole series of issues behind it. In the end if all you do is Oracle, then a 100% Oracle solution may be best for you, but reality is no one is 100% any one product, let alone just one product.

A few words from a business perspective on database.  When you run a lean shop which is the reality for all of us today, having technologies that are self healing, self managing that don’t require a DBA are of value. That is what DB2 does for us.  As I understand it that is not the world of many database providers including Oracle. It is rare to find DBA’s in a DB2 shop, especially in an SMB space, I can’t say that for my counterparts that run other main stream database technologies.

As far as powering the cloud, if it’s about choice then IBM has a unique offering in the Power system, but again I don’t see cloud as the end goal for a processor. The management tools for ALL vendors are not what we want today, that speaks to your point about creating front end tools in order to offer a service. I am not sure that business is really ready to jump to a cloud, so this posturing is about being ready, not what is ready today. That includes the way you can manage a cloud or offer services from the cloud. 

James knows that I push the Power envelope so Unbuntu Vs Debian Vs Red Hat Vs Novell Suse is again about choice, they all run Linux on a Power platform. I always stress caution to an enterprise audience about Linux in that if we are to learn from the past and adoption of Unix, the world of Linux must learn to not become to proprietary, which in the end is my biggest beef with Larry’s Linux.

In summary:

  • A chip technology does not define the cloud
  • Power 7 is just the next generation in a roadmap of chip technology, guess what’s next Power 7+ and then Power 8
  • Power systems are a virtualization engine which is about choice for business
  • Oracle may be at risk of alienating it’s clients by eliminating choice
  • Running lean means deploying technologies that self manage
  • The cloud is a great concept but not widely deployed other than SaaS
  • Business is not ready to adopt the cloud
  • Nobody is managing the cloud really well yet
  • We have to be wary about splintering Linux the way Unix was

Thanks for listening . . .

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